That's when changes were made and they sparked Opelika's season and what has become one of the top defenses in the state during the playoffs. One of the players who has become a key ingredient for Coach Brian Blackmon's team as it heads into the 6A state title game Friday night against Hoover is junior defensive back Stephen Roberts.
A safety early in the season, Roberts was moved to his natural position of cornerback in week five and the results have been dramatic. At 6-0, 185 pounds the 2014 prospect has become a lockdown defender for the Bulldogs and that was on display in last week's rematch with Carver as he controlled his side of the field in the win.
"I knew they were going to throw the ball," Roberts tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "I told the secondary that we had to be ready. The last time they scored on the first drive against us. We had to step it up.
"Jeremy Johnson is a good quarterback," he added of the Auburn commitment. "I just had to step up for my team. It was just so exciting."
A cornerback for much of his life as a football player, Roberts said for him the season turned around when he finally got a chance to make the move back outside to his natural position.
"Four or five weeks ago I was at safety," Roberts said. "Now I'm at corner and I'm a lock-down corner. That's where I feel comfortable. I've been there since I was a little kid."
With four wins in the playoffs, including consecutive wins over two teams that beat Opelika in the regular season (Auburn and Carver), Roberts and the Bulldogs will get a final chance to avenge an earlier loss when they take on Hoover Friday at 7 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Growing up dreaming of playing in front of a huge crowd in the SEC, Roberts said he's ready to take on the Bucs and try to win a title for Opelika.
"I have never played there before and I'm just excited about it," Roberts said. "We'll see what happens."
Roberts said he's yet to hear from any schools, but with his play in the postseason for the Bulldogs the attention should be quick to follow.